Category Archives: Sin

Sin is an STD

A friend of mine once said that life is an STD with a 100% mortality rate. Logically, it’s a pretty accurate statement, that is until you remember that we were not made to die.

When God told Adam about the tree of knowledge of good and evil that, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die,” he wasn’t kidding. When they disobeyed the command of the Lord, they became infected with sin. From that point forth, it has been transmitted to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Through intercourse we are given both life and the disease that our parents inherited from their parents and so forth all the way back to Adam.

Sin is such a vile disease that it kills everything it touches. It is unlike any other disease in existence. Not only is it spread sexually, but it is also airborne and spread through simple contact. And when your own sin mixes with other sin, you become sicker and sicker and you infect more and more. Such an epidemic of which there is no compare.

Men and women over the centuries have often tried to find a cure or vaccine, even to this day, but it is all to no avail. It is to great a disease. In cases of great epidemic, it is at times crucial to burn anything that could be contaminated to prevent the spread. In the case of sin, it is absolutely necessary burn all that is contaminated. It is that horrible.

So, what are we to do? What can we do? All human efforts have been for naught.

I watched a movie once where a disease caused people to attack and eat other people. There was no cure for this disease. The only solution was death. In the special features section of the DVD, they had discussed a plan to cure one of the characters. There was only one problem: the cure would actually kill him too. See, the disease was in the blood and the writers realized that if they could just replace the blood, then he would be saved. In order to replace the blood, they would have completely drain the man of all blood, then basically bleach his insides clean, and finally put new blood in him. The process would not only kill him but actually sounds worse than the disease. I don’t know about you, but I imagine I’d probably rather go crazy and eat another man’s flesh than have my insides bleached.

And yet, that is exactly the cure for sin. We are infected with a disease and the only way to get rid of it is to wash it out and replace it with clean blood. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was born without sin and was executed for ours. His shed blood has washed away our sin. Our sin still kills us. It has done its damage. But we are not cast to the fire as those still infected as we will be with Christ, pure and without sin.

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Willful Intent

When a person sins against his conscience, that is, when he knowingly and intentionally acts contrary to God, as, for instance, an adulterer or any other criminal, who knowingly does wrong, he is, while consciously persisting in his intention, without repentance and faith and does not please God. For example, while a person keeps the wife of another man, it is manifest that he is void of repentance, faith, and holiness.

-Martin Luther

I think sometimes as Lutherans we point towards the grace of God to the point of our detriment. While it is faith alone that saves and not works, at times we put so much emphasis on it that sin is given a pass. We have our sins that perhaps out of habit we repeat over and over with maybe a prayer for forgiveness after the fact. I am not speaking of sins which we struggle with daily for we all have sinful natures that cause us to act out in a way that is unholy without intention and we feel greatly sorry after the fact. No, what I am referring to are those sins that we willfully do with the full foreknowledge that it is a sin before the fact that we commit it. I think it’s fair to say that many Christians, myself included, have at times committed the grievous error with the thought that we can just repent afterwards.

If I have the intention of getting drunk, rather than getting drunk by simple negligence, and then in the following weekend I intend to get drunk again, then it stands to argue that I am not actually repentant and my prayers for forgiveness are simple talk. Do you see the difference? In one situation I am drunk by intention and in the other I am drunk by my own stupidity. Both are sinful and abominable actions, but only one probably will carry with it true remorse and repentance. The other will simply go through the “Christian” motions to appease himself and those around him rather than have true contrition.

This holds true for any sin(s). It does not matter if it is theft, lust, drunkenness, violence, or anything else. If anyone is intentionally partaking in anything that is contrary to the word of God and willingly continues doing  so, then it is suspect that any claims of repentance and faith are merely just talk and show. To struggle with sin (drunkenness, homosexuality, etc.) is one thing, but to continually indulge in that sin is no struggle. It is a willful and intentional middle finger to God.

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Discrimination VS Participation

I’ve been seeing this in the news quite a bit in the news over the past few days. “Pizza shop won’t serve gays.” “Flower shop won’t serve homosexuals.” If the headlines were to be believed, you’d think discriminating against homosexuals was all the rage these days. But the fact of the matter is, many of these headlines are deceptive. Some of the articles themselves go so far as to omit certain details, perhaps in some sort of attempt to villainize the business. For the most part, though, these businesses are portrayed as discriminating against homosexuals even though in most cases (you will find the oddball here and there) nothing of the sort is happening.

Take Memories Pizza in Indiana who was forced to closed out of fear for their well being after they stated that they would not cater gay weddings. They were labeled as bigoted, hateful, and discriminatory, even though they stated that they would have no issues serving homosexual customers. Wait. Didn’t I just say they won’t do gay weddings? Yes I did. So how does that work with them not having any issues serving homosexual customers? The two statements may seem contradictory but actually, they’re not contradictory at all. And here’s why.

If Memories Pizza stated they will not serve gays, period, that would be discrimination. But that’s not what they’re saying at all. If a homosexual wants to come in and have pizza, they have no problem whatsoever with that. To them, that person is simply a customer and they treat that customer like every other customer. There is no distinction between the Christian, the Muslim, or the homosexual. They are all the same. They are all customers. Where this changes is when the homosexual (or Muslim, or whatever) asks them to take part in their event. Once you ask someone to cater your wedding, you are no longer just a customer. You are asking them to take part in your wedding. A wedding they may disagree with. If they agree to cater your wedding, they are affirming what your wedding symbolizes. So for Memories Pizza, to cater a gay wedding would be to violate their morals and beliefs. They would effectively telling the world that they believe homosexual weddings are okay.

I’ve used the gay wedding and Memories Pizza as one example, but pizza and weddings aren’t the only thing it applies to. It can apply to any scenario that forces people to choose to obey their faith or violate it. To be clear, participating in an event is not a simple business transaction as the media is making it out to be. Participating in an event is a clear affirmation of what that event is about. It’s not about bigotry. It’s not about hatred. It’s not about discriminating against customers. It’s about not violating your conscience. Scripture calls for us to serve our neighbor, but we do him no service by participating in his sin.


No Such Thing as a Gay Christian

You may have heard someone say, “I’m a gay Christian,” and thought to yourself, “Wait, I didn’t know that was possible?” Well, the reason you didn’t know that was possible is because it isn’t. You cannot be a gay Christian. It just can’t happen. Now, you can be a Christian who struggles with homosexuality. Absolutely. That is a completely different thing from being a gay Christian. On the surface, they sound similar, but there is a rather large difference between the two. Let’s take a look.

The so-called gay Christian is identifying with the sin, not Christ whereas the Christian who struggles with homosexuality recognizes his urges and feelings are wrong and places his troubles at the feet of Christ. To identify with the sin is to give the sin a pass and claim it is not sin. To claim what God has declared sin to be not sinful is to make God a liar. This is not any different from someone who would claim to be an adulterous Christian or a thieving Christian. “Yeah, I cheat on my wife all the time, but it’s okay because I’m with Christ.” “Christ is okay with me stealing all this stuff because he died for me.” Do you see how stupid that sounds? God isn’t cool with theft, adultery, homosexuality, or any other sin. He hates it. He despises sin with every fiber of his being.

Yet God sent his son who was perfectly sinless to die for our sins. That we may be forgiven for our sins. So if you honestly have faith that Christ died for you and gave you forgiveness for your sins, then why on earth with you ever identify with those sins instead of the one who forgave them? A Christian may struggle with homosexuality. The old Adam constantly tempts us with lusts of the flesh. Those lusts are different from person to person, but they are there for everyone. Everyone has their own sins that they struggle with daily. If you identify with those sins then you are not a Christian because you have elevated your sin above Christ. So what are you? Are you a sinner or a Christian who struggles with sin?

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At least you’re not as bad as Hitler…right?

Hitler is often considered to be the most evil man who ever lived and the extermination of six million Jews and twenty million Russians seems to make a pretty good case for that argument. But when you take into the 30 million people the Japanese slaughtered or the near 60 million that Joseph Stalin slaughtered during the same period, Hitler doesn’t seem that bad by comparison.

What about Andrew Kehoe who murdered 43 people, 38 of them children? Abhorrent. But compared to Hitler, he doesn’t seem so bad. And while the Milwaukee Cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes may seem unspeakable to some, he’s not so bad compared to Mr. Kehoe. And what about that madman who tried to impress Jodie Foster by shooting Ronald Reagan? Sure, he attempted to assassinate the president of the free world, but he failed. And besides, it was only one guy he tried to kill. Compared to Jeffrey Dahmer, he wasn’t that bad.

What about your sins? Well, you didn’t try to straight up murder a dude. You never raped anyone. Perhaps you illegally download some music or a movie. Maybe lied to get out of a bad date. Nothing major. Compared to most people, you’re a saint. You’re not as bad as these other people. But where does it end? Compared to someone else, you could be a pretty damn horrible person. And therein lies the problem. You see, it doesn’t matter how good you are, somewhere along the line, you’ve done some bad things and whether they seem petty or insignificant to you doesn’t matter. It makes no difference if you’re as bad as Hitler or not because you have committed sins against a just and holy God. And a just and holy God must exact punishment for those sins if he is to remain just. That’s why we need a perfectly sinless savior to redeem us from our sins and to take the punishment for us.

Because if we can get by with, “Well, I’m not so bad compared to the next guy,” then why can’t Hitler get by with, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as Stalin”?

Is your sin really not as bad as Jeffrey Dahmer’s? If not, maybe Hitler’s wasn’t so bad either.


The sin of praying to the Saints

Roman Catholic tradition teaches praying to the Saints.  Many of our protestant brethren would tell us we should not do so because it’s not found in scripture.  Well, that’s a rather sad excuse.  Should I not listen to heavy metal or country simply because it’s not found in scripture?  Hardly.  If that’s your line of reasoning, than we shouldn’t be driving motor cars or using computers.  More astute Christians will tell us that we should not be praying to the Saints because Christ is our only mediator between God.  And that is a very valid argument.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.

Not through John.  Not through Mark.  Not through Augustine.  Not through Luther.  Through Jesus.  So why would we pray to any of these Saints?  It is not through them which we shall be saved but through Jesus Christ.

But that’s not what I’m getting at either.  Not, what I’m getting at is that praying to the Saints is a sin on the grounds that contacting the dead is a sin.  First of all, Deuteronomy 18:10-11 explicitly speaks against it.  We can also look at 1 Samuel 28 in which Saul goes to a medium to contact Samuel.  According to verse 15, contact from the world of the living was a major annoyance for Samuel.  Furthermore, we see when Saul asks Samuel for help, Samuel basically answers “Why are you asking me when the Lord has turned from you?” Saul asking Samuel for help isn’t really all that different than praying to the Saints.  Both are dead.  Both are great people of God.  Seems to me that speaking with the dead doesn’t do a whole lot of good.  Since we are not to be contacting the dead, then we should not be praying to the Saints because what is prayer but contact.  It’s difference when we pray to Jesus because he is risen from the dead.  Being no longer dead, he is a living body that may be contacted.  If you are praying to the Saints, then you are attempting to contact the dead which, as the law tells us, is a sin.

Some Roman Catholics will point to Matthew 17:3 as proof that praying to the Saints is okay and that contacting the dead isn’t forbidden.  However, there is one thing they tend to leave out.  Peter didn’t contact the dead here; Jesus, AKA God, did.  I think it stands to reason that God can do whatever he pleases.  God also made a wager with Satan.  That doesn’t mean we should.

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Every Christian is a backslider

You hear this term a lot in American Christianity: backslider. It gets thrown around so often that people recognize this as a Christian term, though when you think about it, it could really be applied to just about anything. Here’s my problem with the term backslider. The context in which it is used indicates a falling back into sin. It implies that one has achieved perfection because how can you slide back into sin if you haven’t eliminated sin completely. Obviously, this isn’t quite what they mean, but it is unfortunately what it implies. So let’s take a look at what they do mean. Generally speaking, what they actually mean is that one is not acting like a Christian. For example, one who has been saved by the grace of God has started getting drunk all the time or chasing after lustful desires might be called a backslider. This person, in their eyes, is falling away and needs to be brought back into the fold so to speak. There’s a problem with this definition too. The problem with this definition is that all Christians are backsliders.

Truth be told, Christians make pretty terrible Christians. The reason is because we just keep sinning. We can’t stop it because we love it too much. That old Adam in us is just like, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” The new Adam in us certainly helps us to subdue and suppress our sinful nature, but the old Adam fights back. He wants that sin and he makes sure we do so everyday, even in the most subtle ways. So, since we consistently AND constantly fall into sin, by their definition, every Christian is a backslider. And if they applied it that way (which they don’t) they would be correct every time they used it because every single Christian is a backslider. By the very fact that we are all “backsliders” and at the same time saved by Christ’s shed blood on the cross, therefore righteous in God’s eyes, we are simul iustus et peccator, that is at the same time sinner and saint. Though we are wretched depraved sinners, perpetually backslidden until we die or Christ makes his triumphant return, we are justified through his shed blood on the cross. To quote Martin Luther –

“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”

― Martin Luther

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Honest Rejection?

I want to let every single individual know that the link posted below is extremely graphic and may very well be something you never want to see. It is absolutely not safe for work, children, or the faint of heart.  However, I feel it is critical that the matter in the video be discussed.  Let me preface the situation for you.  ISIS (a Muslim terrorist group) soldiers have been taking over portions of Iraq.  Christians have been being raped and murdered.  Children and adults alike are being beheaded.  Some children as young as six years old from what I have seen have even been forced into marriage. The people are being told that if they want to live that they must renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam.  And then, they are sometimes killed anyways.

In the linked video, a Christian man is converted at gun point.  He says, “There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammad is his messenger.” What follows is the horrific scene of the Muslims cutting his head off anyways.

So I ask, what is the eternal fate of this man?  What if he was sincerely rejecting God and Jesus Christ in light of the circumstances and actually converting to Islam?  What if he was not sincere and merely said what he did to save his own skin?  Does it even matter?  Can your final actions alive seal your eternal fate?

I think this one warrants some discussion.  In my personal opinion, I think he was simply lying in an attempt to save his life, but his words were still blasphemous.  I ask the above questions because I honestly don’t know his eternal fate.  I don’t think anyone does.  But it’s important to know exactly what scripture says on these matters.  So I’d like to hear what everyone has to say and specifically what scripture says.


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An unnatural death

What if I told you that no one has ever died of natural causes?  Would you be a little skeptical?  What if I told you that everyone has been killed by the exact same thing?  You’d probably think me to be a liar or a maniac.  Yet, if I told you these things, I would correct.  And I can prove it to you.  The key is in Genesis 2:17.  That passage in reference discusses the consequences of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the consequences being death.  Now, the passage doesn’t say they will immediately die or die that instant, it just says that they will surely die.  That passage is key because it implies that there was no death.  It just didn’t happen.  Death is not something that naturally occurs in the world.  So then, what causes death?

There is only one thing causes death and that is sin.  While things like illness, murder, natural disaster, accidents, etc. can all result in death, the only reason someone dies is because of sin.  Romans 5:12 spells this out to us clearly when it tells us that death comes from sin.  So from these two passages we see two things.  Death is completely unnatural AND the reason we die is because of sin.  Without sin, there is no death.  Grandma didn’t die of old age.  She was killed by sin.  Cancer didn’t take your father’s life.  Sin took it.  The bullet didn’t kill your friend.  The sin killed your friend.  Those people didn’t die in a flood.  They died because of sin. All death is the result of sin.  You will die because of sin.  You cannot stop it.  There is nothing you can do.

Thankfully, there is one who did not sin.  Jesus Christ.  He lived completely sinless.  By all logic, he could not die.  There was no sin in him.  And yet, he died on the cross.  But how?  He died because he took all your sins upon and into himself.  He died because of you.  And because your sin has been taken from you and placed into the body of Jesus Christ, God does not see your sin.  When you die, though Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, your sin will not be seen.  Oh, sin will still kill you, but upon death, instead of being dragged to where sin is sent to be extinguished, you will be taken to where sin does not exist.  You will never see the second death because you will have no sin because the one who was sinless took your sin and had it nailed to a Roman cross.

Though you die an unnatural death, be blessed in knowing that it is not counted against you as it should.

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The abuse of grace

As Christians, we have been given the greatest gift anyone could ever hope to receive; the grace of God.  There is no greater or more merciful gift than this.  So, why is it that we so often treat it as a simple wad of used toilet paper?  Have we become so desensitized that we do not recognize sin?  Do we forget that God does not work on a sliding scale?  Somehow we take up righteous causes fighting against the great evils of abortion and homosexual marriage and yet we trivialize our own sins which are just as egregious.  “Jesus Christ,” the Christian man shouts at his friend as he stubs his toe.  “Why the f*** did you leave that there!?”  According to the law, this man has just committed blasphemy and murder in his heart, whether he intended to or not.  “That f***in’ b******!” he shouts at the car who just cut him off, forcing him to dangerously slam on his brakes.  Let us not forget the woman whom he looks at lustfully or his neighbor’s fancy BBQ grill that he wishes he had.  Covetousness and lust.  These and all other manner of sins should grieve the Christian the moment they enter his heart, but more often than not, they pushed to the side.  Out of sight, out of mind as it goes.

Every Sunday he goes to church and corporately confesses his sins.  There, his part is done.  He is absolved.  Go Jesus!  But the life of a Christian is that of perpetual repentance and forgiveness.  This is why we should study the scriptures daily.  So that daily we can be convicted of our sins.  So that daily we can be repentant of our sins.  So that daily we can know the forgiveness that is Jesus Christ.  So that daily we can go to bed with a clean conscience knowing that Jesus Christ paid for our sins.  The Christian needs this because though he can never atone for his sins himself, he is not given a license to sin.  Nowhere in scripture does it say, “Sin freely that grace may abound!”  In fact, Romans 6 says just the opposite.  To willfully continue in sin is to say that Christ is not in us.  Though we are simul iustus et peccator, that is simultaneously sinner and saint, when we do sin, we should be deeply grieved and troubled by it.  We should be repentant.  And then, we should look to our baptism and remember that Christ has forgiven us all of our sins, even these ones.  And we should rest easy knowing this and try not to abuse what has been given to us.

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